The term ‘influencer’ is described as someone who ‘affects or changes the way that people behave’, and in 2018 that term represents a number of different people who have a significant and engaging online presence from bloggers to vloggers, to Instagram stars to celebrities and even Instagram famous pets!
There’s no doubt that the rise and impact of influencers is unprecedented, and at PHA Media we believe if selected properly, an impactful influencer campaign can drive engagement, add credibility and increase awareness for a brand – making influencer partnerships an invaluable asset and must-have strand of any digital marketing or PR activity.
But the question is how do you devise a successful influencer strategy that will deliver these results?
To investigate and set the record straight, we will be interviewing a series of our favourite influencers over the coming months, to establish – how they want to work, what makes for an attractive brand campaign, and how a successful collaboration can be achieved for both parties involved.
To kick off our series we recently interviewed Sabrina Carder otherwise known as the Young Eccentric. Not only is Sabrina a successful fashion, beauty, lifestyle and travel influencer who has worked with high profile brands including JD Sports and Neutrogena, she’s also a fashion journalist, writer and presenter!
Name: Sabrina Carder
Instagram handle: @sabrinacarder
When did you start your journey as a digital influencer?
Oh goodness hmm about five years ago – I started a blog but didn’t really know how to use it, so I would say the blogging really started three years ago, especially when I finally upgraded my £10 top-up phone for an iPhone – that was a game changer ha!
What motivated you to make the decision to become a digital influencer?
Becoming a digital influencer was never my plan. After years of being asked “Sabs, what ARE you wearing!?” I was just desperate to find likeminded people and to have a space where I could freely express my quirky sense of style.
What is the main digital channel that you use?
Basic answer, but Instagram, even though the new algorithm is making it highly un-motivating at times.
Could you describe what you do / your ‘brand’ to others?
I’d like to think that my USP is that I inject a bit of fun back into fashion, whether that be adding a little bit of an unusual edge to on-trend outfits or with a witty caption (or several).
What is it about your work that you enjoy most?
I genuinely love making creative content – from styling outfits to writing relatable articles.
Do you run your online channels full-time or part-time?
Up until recently I was freelance, so I had a lot more time for my blog. I’m also a fashion journalist and recently took up a new position so I am now part-time.
How would you describe your sense of style?
Quirky and versatile – you never know what vibe I’m going to go for next.
What is the one thing you could you not live without and why?
I tried to think of an item of clothing, but I switch my style up so much it’s impossible to pick one. So, I’m gonna have to say my camera with self-timer because that’s a classic blogger must-have.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I have an identical twin and I met Princess Diana as a baby as I only weighed 1-pound 3oz (I was a miracle baby).
Who would you say is your favourite brand at the moment and why?
Oh my days that’s a hard one – if I had to choose one I’d say DollsKill because they stock all my fave independent brands such as Local Heroes, Lazy Oaf, Unif, Current Mood, Demonia – the list goes on…
Is there another digital influencer that you admire? If so, why?
Oh-soo-many! At the moment I would have to say Charlotte Hole is a person everyone should follow because her content is amazing, she keeps things real and is an absolute babe.
What’s been your favourite campaign/project to work on so far and why?
One of my fondest projects was working with H! by Henry Holland when I’d just started blogging – I got to go to Wireless Festival with Henry Holland it was an amazing ‘pinch me’ day.
Currently, I’m one of the influencers to be part of the Google Pixel 2 project so I can’t wait to create content for that.
How do you like to be approached by PRs / brands?
Email is always the easiest way to keep track of things.
What do you look for when it comes to brand partnerships?
The most important thing is that it’s a brand I am genuinely excited about – everything else I will always compromise on if needed.
How do you distinguish between paid for / non-paid for content on your blog, YouTube and social media channels?
On my blog, I always say when a product has been gifted and for paid social content I use #AD.
Is there anything that puts you off working with certain PRs / brands?
From discussions with other bloggers, I’d say that as long as you are nice and polite you can’t really go wrong. That is apart from if a blogger has said they won’t do content for free don’t try and convince them – respect their answer.
What is the strangest request you have ever received from a PR / brand?
I can’t think of anything bizarre right now but I’m sure there are some good’uns somewhere in my inbox!
Do you ever directly approach brands you would like to work with?
Very rarely – It’s something I should get better at, I just always feel a bit awkward doing so.
What do you feel makes for a good media or influencer event and what entices you to attend?
I’d say as long as there’s some music and an alcoholic beverage I’m there. However, sometimes it deters me is if the event is in a shop as you just know it will be very cramped.
Do you ever post negative reviews and if so, how do you manage the relationship with the PR or brand?
Luckily that is something I haven’t had to deal with yet. But all you can do as an influencer is be honest – so if a product is not what I expected I have to share that opinion and hope the PR or brand would understand.
Which social media channels do you find most engages your followers?
At the moment who knows – it’s a minefield of varying engagement. But as I have my biggest following on Instagram I’m going to have to say that.
If you were to start your journey again, would you do anything differently second time around?
OH, HELL YEAH! I would have got an iPhone and Instagram way before 2014 and actually learnt how to use Blogger and put more time into it in the beginning.
Oh, and most of I wouldn’t of deleted my Lookbook which had a big following days before I went to uni because it made me feel self-conscious that people would find it and think I was weird. If I had/ hadn’t done all those things you never know I could have been like Zoella (JK).
Do you have any advice for budding digital influencers?
You don’t just become an influencer overnight unless you are very, very lucky. If you’re obsessing over follower numbers or likes on a selfie, chances are you’re not going to get too far. So, find a topic or a hobby that you love and make that your focus. Followers come with time, patience and hard work. So just be yourself and do it for yourself and the enjoyment.
What are your aspirations for the future?
Obviously, I would love to still grow The Young Eccentric and my social channels – so, I think in 2018 I would love to get better at planning and creating new, exciting content.
However, the most important thing for me and biggest aspiration is that I simply still enjoy creating the content!!
Our expert consumer PR team has plenty of experience with communicating with influencers and working with social media.